From The Blog

Riddles in the Dark 20: Of the Rings of Power and the First Film

Vampire Bats, Kim Jong-Il…oh, and Rings…on Riddles in the Dark! It’s Riddles in the Dark episode 20! Seems like just yesterday Prof. Corey...

Vampire Bats, Kim Jong-Il…oh, and Rings…on Riddles in the Dark!

It’s Riddles in the Dark episode 20! Seems like just yesterday Prof. Corey Olsen and Dave Kale kicked off this series, and here we are, almost to film premiere time, when all questions will be answered.

In this episode, after some time looking at some of the media articles that have been showing up about Jackson and his movie, Corey and Dave (and Trish Lambert in more than a cameo appearance) consider the Rings of Power in the context of Tolkien’s work and in the context of the Lord of the Rings films. While we have received some indications about Bilbo’s ring from the entertainment press, we have not heard anything about the Dwarf Ring that is taken away from Thrain upon his capture by the Necromancer; there is discussion around this, and how it will be incorporated into the film (if at all).

The media coverage discussed includes Empire Magazine, Collider, and io9.

Riddle: What role will the Dwarf Ring play in the movie?

A. None at all, it will never be alluded to.

B. Passing reference, does not figure into the plot

C. Only foreshadows the power of the One Ring over its wielder

D. Part of the larger story connecting Sauron to the back story of the Dwarves, becomes a feature of the plot.


Download: .mp3 (right click and choose “Save As…” to download)

  1. Adam October 31, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Ha ha, yes guys, Thorin has a streak of grey hair:

    …and when he is younger, its gone:

  2. Adam October 31, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    Hey do we think the great Goblin will be like the South Park guys ‘Team America World Police; Kim Jong Il? “Ah herrow Forin, wercom to my howme”

    If he sings I’m so ronery I will weep with joy!

  3. Trish October 31, 2012 at 11:45 am #

    Oh that is TOO FUNNY!!!!!

    I loved Ed’s input: Thorin Acornshield. I’m still laughing.

  4. Ben VB October 31, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Not really related to the film, given that PJ cut the most important character, but I just thought there’s an interesting parallel between Tom Bombadil’s breaking of the barrow-spell by scattering its hoard and a similar breaking of the dragon/ring-spell by sharing the hoard of Erebor.

  5. Tuor son of Huor November 1, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    They’ve basically just given us a scene-by-scene summary of the first film in that music tracklist!
    Definitely no Mirkwood, starting with the framing rather than backstory etc etc.
    Not sure what “The Hill of Sorcery” and “The Defiler” are about, but at least they’ve got “Blunt the Knives” in, though no sign of a “Tra-la-la-lally”, unless “The Hidden Valley” will be some sort of choral version of it sung in Elvish!

  6. Trish November 1, 2012 at 11:41 am #


    Boy, you got that right. This list offers some pretty clear clues about what is and isn’t in the movie.

    Hill of Sorcery, I assume, is Dol Guldur. Defiler, good question–Sauron? Bolg? Azog?

    I was joking with Corey the other day that I’ve mentally assigned “Tra-la-la-lally” to the scene we’ve seen where the Elves are circling the Company on horseback–so it would be a much more serious version of the song (laugh!!! tickles me very time I contemplate it). But, really, it looks like we will lose that ditty.

  7. Ben VB November 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Azog was called ‘Azog the Defiler’ in one of the toy descriptions (or something).

  8. Trish November 1, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    Thanks Ben…I thought I had seen the named connected with either Azog or Bolg, but couldn’t find it.

    Interesting that while we’ve seen drawings and toys of Bolg, Azog hasn’t been part of the movie promo…I’m wondering if he will be one of the big “surprises” in store for us.

  9. San Diego Dave November 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    I think the division of the 3 films makes a lot of sense.

    My theory is that the third film will basically be identical to what the second film WOULD have been. So the last film (whether out of two or three) hasn’t really changed. All the extra, non-book material (which is basically just the prologue and the White Council stuff) would have been added to the first film, which would have been way too much (film 1 would have been 5-6 hours). Now that it’s a trilogy, that 6 hours worth of material can be divided evenly between two 3-hour films. So film 2 will now end with the White Council attacking the Necromancer and the Dwarves arriving at Lake Town (basically where the original film 1 would have ended).

    Also, the split makes sense thematically. The first film has a united “fellowship.” The second film is the Mirkwood film, where the “fellowship” splits into two (Dwarves and Bilbo in one group and Gandalf and the White Council in the other) and both groups spend almost the whole film in Mirkwood. The third film is the Lonely Mountain film.

  10. Brent Sprinkle November 3, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Well, the quick answer is to say, that assuming the Gandalf at Dol Guldur scene with Thrain (if it was him) we saw in the trailer is now in the second film, any reference to the Dwarven ring, if any, will go with it to the 2nd film. However, Corey points out that the map and key has to come from somewhere which is a good opportunity to bring up the subject of Thrain’s ring. Why would they do this though? Haven’t a clue as it doesn’t seem to move the story forward at all. I think it would be more confusing than not. Also, Phillipa Boyens has the entire world of middle-earth at her fingertips to explain how Gandalf got the key and map and it might turn out that Thrain has nothing to do with it at all so its hard to say.

    In regards to option C….I think any viewer who goes to the movies will already know what kind of power the One Ring is going to have on Bilbo if they have seen LOTR. For that simple reason only, using the Dwarven Ring to foreshadow that would be unnecessary.To introduce the Dwarven Ring is, I think, confusing to the average movie goer and would complicate the story too much. Yes, it was mentioned in the prologue of FOTR but that was put in a historical context that happened years ago and bears no meaning on the present other than to explain the origins of the One Ring, and the RingWraiths and not the other rings. There is no apparent reason to associate the info given at the beginning of FOTR with The Hobbit movie.

    The marketers have heavily pushed Thorin’s key and Map, but we haven’t heard anything about Thorin’s Ring. We know exactly what they Key to Erebor will look like in the movie but I have only seen different versions of a Thorin’s Ring and no standard piece exists. Makes me think it won’t be in the first movie as a major focus.

    They would really have to be stretching to include the ring as a major plot device so I think I am going with A. It was a close B, but I see no reason to bring it up.

    To add a thought, I can see them just including the ring in the pile of gold at the Lonely Mountain and show a scene where Thorin finds the ring as an heirloom he was meant to have. It would completely take away the significance of it being a Ring of Power but I don’t think they would care too much about that, and yet it would subtly hint to the fact that at the core of every treasure trove there is a ring to give a somewhat vague nod to the purists.

  11. Billy Zibell November 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    20th episode…. 20 rings of power

  12. Sky King November 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

    C. for the following reasons: (HT will represent Hobbit Trilogy)

    All photos and scenes show Thorin wearing at least two rings…

    Back in Bag End, Gandalf says admonishingly or reprimandingly in FOTR (film) after Bilbo slipped on The One Ring at his 111th b-day party, that “There are many magic rings in this world Bilbo Baggins and none of them should be used lightly!” We need to see them in action (wringwraith tombs might be a link to that). The events of the HT(2 rings) would support this claim and that Gandalf is wary of this use; all the tension, death, and dragon sickness involved in the Quest for Erebor would flood not only through Gandalf’s mind, but more importantly ours, the audience in a much more personal way if we knew Thorin’s desire to retake Erebor was in part due to a ring that maddened him. The writers might tie in a Dwarfen ring theme in this manner to impose upon the audience the potential danger Bilbo is left with as he travels home with his Ring.

    But how to use the Dwarfen Ring in the fillms without overshadowing the key and map? This will involve immense, undesirable, rewriting for Tolkien fans, but the studio needs to sell to everyone it can, so deep back story can be sacrificed (it mildly disturbed me at first to think so, but i could see how it might work) and provide minimal but useful contrast to the arguably inoccuous ring Bilbo finds. (Jackson is including more psychic features to set the stage for Frodo’s use in LOTR, but compared to Thorin’s greed and madness…its inclusion might provide useful contrast).

    For instance, Thorin secretly has the Ring and it’s revealed he does after the battle of Five Armies on his deathbed, while holding the Arkenstone, or it’s revealed earlier and it explains not only why Thorin is so much younger (despite the obvious reason of needing a young vivacious lead character that provides a foil for Bilbo and that Fili and Kili, his nephews, are over 100 yrs younger than he is yet they look very similar in age (maybe 10-15 years difference at most) than in the book, but why he has mild streaks of grey in his hair, and why he lusts after the gold under the mountain enough to spar with a fire-breathing dragon of all things, with thirteen raucous, determined, and hardy yet diminutive fellow-dwarfs!

    Revenge, yes, but dragon sickness that the ring amplified: the Silmarillion says as much (I know, lawsuit, but come on!). Perahps it has stretched Thorin’s life (as The One Ring did Bilbo’s, this would be an extra power of course to the Dwarfen ring because the Seven can’t do that but do incite wrath and greed) and is plausible as a prefigurement of Bilbo’s stretched life and earning Gandalf’s comment in FOTR “you haven’t aged a day!” LOTR watchers might then ask “Has Bilbo gone greedy?”

    This will split our two main characters’ character/morality and elevate our image of Bilbo and his goodness as he freely gives up the Arkenstone to the Elves and Men. Perhaps Gandalf only learns of this ring’s power (not Balin, which would be in keeping with his later failed attempt to retake Moria to obtain the ring) and Bilbo remains ignorant of the other ring, but the audience knows Gandalf knows. Or Gandalf remains ignorant of Bilbo’s Ring possession and Bilbo does know Thorin had a ring and wonders over his ring’s corruptible nature for a moment but has very little greedy desire so his ring remains inane to him.

    So, invisibility is cool and welcome, as he experiences escaping multiple times in the HT; but at the price of madness, maybe they shouldn’t be taken so lightly as Gandalf later suggests, perhaps reminding Bilbo of what it did to Thorin (hypothetically in my version of C) and ratcheting tension in our minds in that moment at Bag End in FOTR as we ask ourselves “Bilbo knows what the ring did to Thorin, why won’t he let go?”. (All those opening scenes in FOTR will replay so differently after the HT).

    Also, just as Bilbo, Gandalf, and the four hobbits arrive at the Grey Havens in ROTK (film), Galadriel says “The power of the three Rings is ended”. After 10 hours most viewers are numb to how many rings there are, but this phrase would make more sense, in a minor way (even though she refers to Narya, Nenya, and Vilya).

    It’s the only plausible, albeit somewhat tenuous, but doable manner to include a second ring.

Leave a Reply

1 + = five